Archives

QandA

Not Just Dialogue

John and Craig take an extended look at how sound works in movies, and how screenwriters can take advantage of it on the page.

Damsels in distress

Craig and John love women and jeopardy, but folks, we gotta stop kidnapping girlfriends as plot devices. We discuss ways to avoid this trope.

Scriptnotes: Back to Austin with Rian Johnson and Kelly Marcel

Craig and John head to the Austin Film Festival for another live edition of Scriptnotes. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the crowd for this packed show featuring Looper writer/director Rian Johnson and Saving Mr. Banks screenwriter Kelly Marcel.

Solitude and getting stuff written

Guinevere Turner doesn’t want to talk to you, not when she’s writing.

Blockbusters

This week, John and Craig go big to look all things blockbuster. First, Anita Elberse’s new book Blockbuster argues that giant movies are a comparatively safe bet for Hollywood. Meanwhile, Gravity is the movie on everyone’s lips, but will we learn the right lessons, or just try to put more movie stars in space?

Not Safe for Children

Explicit language warning! Even the titles of this week’s Three Page Challenge entries are filthy, so John and Craig let the f-bombs fly.

Let me give you some advice

Craig and John go back to basics with an all advice episode, looking at the Dear J.J. recommendations for Star Wars, Tony Gilroy’s advice to screenwriters and whatever’s up with Max Landis.

What’s Next

John and Craig discuss what it feels like to finish a project — the combination of excitement and relief, joy and sadness — as Craig advises John which project he should write next now that Big Fish is set to open.

How screenwriting style changed movies

A listener makes the case that modern screenwriting style has changed how scenes themselves work.

Putting your pain second

In this bonus episode, Craig and John and special guest Andrew Lippa answer audience questions after the New York live show, addressing topics ranging from sustaining your passion for a project to dealing with difficult gatekeepers. We had a great crowd with great questions, and Craig especially rose to the challenge.

Scriptnotes Live from New York

John and Craig welcome their largest live audience yet for a conversation about Kickstarter, movie pilots and musicals. Joined by special guest Andrew Lippa, they talk about the special challenges and opportunities that arise when characters break into song.

Two ENTJs walk into a bar (and fix it)

John and Craig reveal their Myers-Briggs secrets as they discuss Kevin Spacey’s comments on the state of television, Eric Garcetti’s plans to address runaway production, and the WGA election.

Risky Business, and the choices you make

Jake Malooley tracks down writer-director Paul Brickman, who more or less vanished after Risky Business.

Ender’s Game, one-hours and alt-jokes

John and Craig discuss the impact of author Orson Scott Card’s personal toxicity on Ender’s Game, and what it means for that movie and how it will this affect studio decisions moving forward.

Disaster Porn, and Spelling Things Out

John and Craig discuss Damon Lindelof’s interview about how plot stakes have escalated lockstep with budget, perhaps to the point of absurdity.

Hits, misses and hedge funds

Craig and John take a look at one investor’s campaign against Sony Pictures, and George Clooney’s strong reaction. From there, we examine why studios have multiple labels — TriStar is back! — and how that affects writers.

101: Q&A from the live show

In this special bonus episode, John and Craig answer listener questions from the 100th episode with help from guests Rawson Thurber and Aline Brosh McKenna.

Scriptnotes, the 100th episode

John and Craig are joined by Aline Brosh McKenna and Rawson Thurber for the 100th episode of Scriptnotes, recorded live at the Academy Lab in Hollywood. It was a great night with an amazing audience.

Psychotherapy for screenwriters

John and Craig sit down with screenwriter-turned-psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo to discuss writer’s block, procrastination, partnerships and more. It’s a can’t-miss episode for aspiring writers and professionals alike.

Long movies, producer credits and price-fixing

John and Craig discuss the Apple ebook price-fixing lawsuit and its lessons for Hollywood, before segueing to the new credits system for producers. Then: Have movies gotten too long, and would making them shorter really save money?

Is 15 the new 30?

Have first acts gotten shorter, or does it just feel that way? John and Craig discuss the pressure on screenwriters to “get to it” faster, and why that’s often the wrong goal.

The Origins and Formatting of Modern Screenplays

John Hess gives a terrific overview of the history of the screenplay format, and how changes in the film industry changed how the words are arranged on the page.

Eating dessert first

Joss Whedon’s productivity advice is to figure out what you actually need to do, then do the most fun stuff first.

Notes on the death of the film industry

John and Craig discuss the death of the film industry as foretold by four prominent filmmakers. Is the way we make movies unsustainable? Is the system fundamentally broken, or just changing into something new? And why don’t we make romantic comedies anymore?

10 Questions, 10 Answers

John and Craig tackle the bursting mailbag, answering listener questions on topics ranging from the variable length of the TV season to underachieving agents to embarrassing IMDb credits.